Food for the Hungry (FH) Director of Artist and Speaker Relations Daniel White recently returned from India, where he saw first hand how FH is helping to fight the sex trade among the Banchada people. The community’s primary livelihood is selling their daughters into prostitution, with the brothers acting as pimps. They’ve been living this way for 500 years.
FH is helping Banchada families develop other ways to earn income, giving them a way out of the terrible bondage to the sex trade. At the same time, FH is supporting the work of the House of Palms, a residential school where girls can be educated and stay out of prostitution. Anguished parents bring their daughters to the school, desperate for a different future for their girls.
Daniel’s photos and stories below show the joy and beauty of India, despite the underlying stress and sadness of the way of life in the Banchada community. Please consider supporting FH’s efforts in India.
The House of Palms, serving both as a school and safe place to live. Some girls left prostitution to come here, while in other cases parents have brought their girls here to prevent them from ever entering the trade.
This is Shalu. She was once a child prostitute but at age 16, she packed her bags and left home. Not knowing where to go, she found the House of Palms and is now living a happy life. She is an influential leader among the young girls there.
Mentors like Shanta (right) help girls like Shalu (left) when they come into the program. Without these mentors and teachers, the House of Palms would not be what it is for these beautiful girls who have been rescued from prostitution.
Young boys the age of this one are working as pimps for their mothers and sisters. The boys are generally 12 years old and above. If you met them on the street, you would think simply that they are really good kids. But this has been their village trade for 500 years, and they’re indoctrinated early on that pimping is what you do to survive in this world. This boy is a leader of other boys working as pimps.
Shamlal (far left) and her family are one of the few households in her community that choose not to be involved in prostitution work, and instead rely on farming for income. They report being happy and healthy, but their income is less than half of what they could make in the sex trade.
Neelym is a 20-year-old woman who goes into small villages, befriending and mentoring young child prostitutes. Her end goal is to help them believe that they could do something better with their lives.
Laughter abounds in this culture, even though life is hard. The woman covering her face is doing so as a sign of respect for her in-laws, who are visiting her.
If you would like to see more of Daniel White’s photography and travels with FH, please see him on Instagram.